Nebraska

The ICE Man Cometh, Prompting a New Look at E-Verify
After high-profile federal raids, Congress is revisiting an employment verification system

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents serve an employment audit notice at a 7-Eleven convenience store on Jan. 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Chris Carlson/AP file photo)

When federal agents arrived at nearly 100 7-Eleven locations across the country last month to check the paperwork of store clerks selling Big Gulps and coffee, it was the clearest sign that President Donald Trump is serious about taking on employers who illegally hire undocumented immigrants.

Twenty-one arrests were made during the Jan. 10 raids at convenience stores in 17 states and the District of Columbia in what was the Trump administration’s strongest action yet targeting employers. Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said at the time that the raids sent “a strong message” to employers that “ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”

Rural Areas Feeling Left Behind in Race to Expand Broadband
Lawmakers looking at several options to close digital divide

South Dakota Sen. John Thune talks with reporters Thursday after a news conference at the GOP retreat in West Virginia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Denny Law’s telecommunications company connects phone lines through the plains of western South Dakota and he’s all-in for ending the rural digital divide.

He said President Donald Trump’s promise to level the playing field with a “great, great broadband,” made during a Jan. 8 speech in Nashville, Tennessee, has energized local providers like himself. And, he added, John Thune, the South Dakota Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, had better take note.

New GOP Women’s Group Makes First Endorsements
Winning for Women announces staff, names Ayotte to board

Winning for Women is endorsing California Rep. Mimi Walters, left, and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, right, among others. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic women outnumber Republican women in Congress 3-to-1. But a new group supporting conservative women is hoping to change that imbalance.

Winning for Women Inc. is making its first endorsements and announcing its key staff on Thursday. The initial round of endorsements, shared first with Roll Call, includes 12 women running for Senate or re-election to the House. 

Word on the Hill: What’s Buzzing Around the Capitol?
Menendez covers ‘Despacito,’ McCarthy’s mentor passes away, and SOTU parking restrictions

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., helps his daughter Alexandra, 14, with algebra homework as Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., looks on, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

We’re all over Capitol Hill and its surrounding haunts looking for good stories. Some of the best are ones we come across while reporting the big stories.

There is life beyond legislating, and this is the place for those stories. We look for them, but we don’t find them all. We want to know what you see, too.

Photos of the Week: A Government Shutdown, Several Protests and a January Barbecue
The week of Jan. 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters cross Constiution Avenue in Washington on Saturday as they arrive for the Women’s March one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not yet March, but the week of Jan. 22 came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Action on Capitol Hill throughout the previous weekend and on Monday saw a government shutdown, multiple protests, long lines to get to work at Hill office buildings and more.

Republicans Weigh Ways to Block Trump on Trade Actions
Despite concerns about pocketbook effects, president imposes tariffs, bad-mouths trade pacts

President Donald Trump is pursuing his America First approach to trade, even as it makes some Republicans nervous. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Even as members of his own party weigh whether Congress has the authority to push back on his trade actions, President Donald Trump on Tuesday slapped new tariffs on solar panels and washing machines.

“It will provide a strong incentive for LG and Samsung to follow through on their recent promises to build major manufacturing plants for washing machines right here in the United States,” Trump said during an Oval Office signing event, adding the actions “uphold a principle of fair trade and demonstrate to the world that the United States will not be taken advantage of anymore.” That echoes a major theme of his 2016 campaign and the first year of his presidency.

Omaha Man Pleads Guilty to Plotting to Kill Joni Ernst
Suspect believed Iowa Republican was connected to ISIS

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was the target of a potential plot on her life last July. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Omaha man pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to threatening the life of Sen. Joni Ernst, who he believed was in cahoots with Islamic State terrorists.

Robert W. Simet, 64, told employees at a motorcycle shop near the Nebraska-Iowa border last July that he might kill the Iowa Republican at a speech she was scheduled to deliver there, according to court documents obtained by The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Senate Leaders Announce New Committee Rosters
Ratio change gives GOP a one-seat advantage at all committtees

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., received his committee assignments on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The full Senate is set to ratify revised committee rosters and ratios before adjourning Tuesday evening.

The changes add a Democrat to the Finance and Judiciary Committees, because each needed new Democrats to provide an across-the-board one-seat advantage for the GOP with their diminished majority.

House Seats You Think Can’t Flip but Might
Political wave elections create their own race dynamics

Rep. Sue W. Kelly lost her re-election bid in 2006 even though she appeared safe, having won two years earlier with 67 percent of the vote in a New York district carried by President George W. Bush. The result is a reminder that wave elections produce their own dynamics. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Responses to the “generic ballot” poll question suggest a partisan electoral wave is building. But the fight for control of the House isn’t a single national election. It will be fought district by district, and national Democrats face challenges on the ground even with the generic ballot favoring them.

In Michigan, according to America Votes 2007-2008, the statewide congressional vote shifted noticeably from 2004 to 2006 — from 49 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic to 53 percent Democratic and 44 percent Republican — but that popular vote surge for the Democrats didn’t translate to a shift of even a single House seat.

Trump Poised to Set Record for Appeals Court Judges
Three more nominees set to be confirmed this week

Appellate nominee Steve Grasz, who is set to be confirmed by the Senate this week, was , nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit, testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee nomination hearing in Dirksen Building on November 1, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans are set to confirm three more of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks this week, a push that will help set a record for the most such appointments in a president’s first year in office.

The Senate is expected to confirm Steve Grasz for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and James Ho and Don Willett for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, over the objections of Democrats who question whether they can be unbiased.